Little Giant

Next summer, my wife and I are considering hiking in the Swiss Alps.  

Over the past XMas, we went to the Palm Springs/Palm Desert  area and I was drooling over the thought of flying my toys in all that open space - but I had no aircraft with me because nothing else would fit in the car. I thought it would be great if I could take a 'copter with me on the European hike - but I can't imagine taking anything as large as a Cheerson CX-20 (or a DJI Phantom) hiking.  Besides, by the time you load up one of those quads with a camera, gimbal and all the extras, and then try to fly at a base altitude of 9,000 feet, they just don't have much 'go'.

So, while I'm waiting for new motors to arrive for the "Santa Cruz Project" (from Hobby King), I decided to rekindle my mechanical engineering skills and design a quad that could lift everything I wanted (at altitude), have good battery life, and be small enough to carry in a backpack. I have most of it planned out.  The design - as it stands, can carry an APM-style controller with GPS, Lidar Lite laser rangefinder, full 900Mhz telemetry, 2W 5.8GHz FPV video transmitter and 2-axis gimbal  capable of handling a GoPro.  It can carry up to a 5000mAH 3-cell LiPo battery and should have a flight time of about 25 minutes.  

The 1100KV motors spin 9" propellers. Calculated all-up weight is about  2 lbs (battery included).

The frame is aluminum and carbon fiber and is extremely strong, rigid and light.  The overall (flight ready) size is 12" wide X 13.5" long X  6.5" high.  The gimbal is mounted far enough forward and low enough such that that the props will only come into view if the GoPro is set to the max wide angle and the craft is pitched more than 30 degrees forward.  If the GoPro is set for a slightly less wide angle, the props will never come in to view.  

But... the design is such that it will easily fold down to a package that is 8" wide X 10" long X 5" high.  It should take about 60 seconds to fold/unfold the unit (no tools required).  And it will easily fit into a backpack!

I'm seriously considering building and selling these "Little Giant" quads.  Let me know if you are interested.  No price has been set yet, but it will be less than a DJI Phantom with camera and gimbal - and the Little Giant will certainly have higher performance, longer flight times and be much more customizable.